Bill Chappell | Prairie Public Broadcasting

Bill Chappell

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.

Chappell's work for NPR includes being the lead writer for online coverage of several Olympic Games, from London in 2012 and Rio in 2016 to Pyeongchang in 2018 – stints that also included posting numerous videos and photos to NPR's Instagram and other branded accounts. He has also previously been NPR.org's homepage editor.

Chappell established the Peabody Award-winning StoryCorps on NPR's website; his assignments also include being the lead web producer for NPR's trip to Asia's Grand Trunk Road. Chappell has coordinated special digital features for Morning Edition and Fresh Air, in addition to editing the rundown of All Things Considered. He also frequently contributes to other NPR blogs, such as The Salt.

At NPR, Chappell has trained both digital and radio staff to tell compelling stories, promoting more collaboration between departments and desks.

Chappell was a key editorial member of the small team that performed one of NPR's largest website redesigns. One year later, NPR.org won its first Peabody Award, along with the National Press Foundation's Excellence in Online Journalism award.

Prior to joining NPR, Chappell was part of the Assignment Desk at CNN International, working with reporters in areas from the Middle East, Asia, Africa, Europe, and Latin America. Chappell also edited and produced stories for CNN.com's features division, before moving on to edit video and produce stories for Sports Illustrated's website.

Early in his career, Chappell wrote about movies, restaurants, and music for alternative weeklies, in addition to his first job: editing the police blotter.

Laura is now a tropical storm, bringing sustained winds of up to 65 mph to the area just south of Louisiana's border with Arkansas. But forecasters warn that the storm remains a dire threat, due to flood-inducing rainfall and other perils.

The former hurricane is now moving north at 15 mph – maintaining the same motion it has taken for much of Thursday, since making landfall in southwest Louisiana with intense winds and a large storm surge.

About 600,000 electrical customers are currently out of power, Gov. John Bel Edwards said in an update at 2 p.m. ET.

Hurricane Laura is diminishing – but it still has sustained winds of at least 100 mph, and it will remain a hurricane "near Shreveport, almost into Arkansas," National Hurricane Center Director Ken Graham said in an update Thursday morning.

"Even if you're well inland, you could still see some of these impacts because it can knock down the trees. You can see flash flooding and power outages throughout Louisiana, East Texas and even into Arkansas," Graham said.

Hurricane Laura is destroying buildings, sparking flash floods and bringing a "catastrophic" storm surge to southwestern Louisiana on Thursday morning, remaining a fearsome hurricane more than seven hours after making landfall.

Laura rapidly intensified into an extremely dangerous storm as it neared land, with the Gulf of Mexico's warm waters spinning its maximum sustained winds up to at least 150 mph.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is asking state legislators to legalize recreational marijuana, saying the government could use the tax revenue to support small businesses and to fund restorative justice programs.

The governor's call to legalize the sale and use of marijuana is part of a broader plan that Wolf says will help Pennsylvania's economy, which is suffering from months of shutdowns and slowdowns due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Updated at 10:24 a.m. ET Wednesday

Hurricane Laura is "rapidly intensifying" and will make landfall late Wednesday or early Thursday as a major hurricane, according to the National Hurricane Center.

As of Wednesday morning, Laura is a Category 3 storm with maximum sustained winds of at least 115 mph. Forecasters predict a storm surge from 9 to 14 feet when it strikes near the Louisiana-Texas border.

Updated at 2 p.m. ET

Alexei Navalny, one of Russian President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critics, was poisoned by an unknown substance from a group of drugs that affect the nervous system, according to the German hospital that is treating the Russian opposition leader.

The drug is a cholinesterase inhibitor, meaning it disrupts the body's ability to break down acetylcholine — an important neurotransmitter in the brain and body.

Navalny remains in a medically induced coma in intensive care.

Updated at 11:50 p.m. ET

Tropical Storm Marco has made landfall near the mouth of the Mississippi River but it is Tropical Storm Laura that has Louisiana and Texas residents bracing for what could be the strongest storm since 2005's Hurricane Rita — still ranked as the most intense tropical cyclone on record in the Gulf of Mexico.

Updated on Aug. 23 at 4:30 a.m. ET

Two tropical systems — Marco and Laura — are heading toward the Gulf of Mexico, and both are expected to become hurricanes before they near the U.S. mainland early next week, according to the National Hurricane Center.

The current forecast sees both storms hitting the near Louisiana, with Marco arriving on Monday and Laura on Wednesday.

Updated Saturday at 10:16 a.m. ET

Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, in a coma from an apparent poisoning, has been flown to Berlin where doctors are now attending to him.

"The plane with Alexei flew to Berlin," his spokeswoman, Kira Yarmysh, said in a tweet late Friday. "Many thanks to everyone for their support. The struggle for Alexei's life and health is just beginning, and there is still a lot to go through, but now at least the first step has been taken."

Dr. Anthony Fauci underwent surgery to remove a polyp from one of his vocal cords Thursday, according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, the agency Fauci has led for decades. The surgery was an outpatient procedure.

"He's now home and resting," an NIAID spokesperson tells NPR. "Expect him to be completely resting his voice at least through the weekend."

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